01:27 GMT +321 August 2019
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    Catalan President Carles Puigdemont sings the Catalan anthem inside the parliament after a vote on independence in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017.

    Spain's Citizens Party Opposes Re-Election of Puigdemont Over Eluding Justice

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemon should not be allowed to lead over the autonomous region again because of his attempts to escape prosecution as well as inability to unite Catalans, Javier Nart, a member of the European Parliament for the largest unionist party Citizens (Ciudadanos), told Sputnik.

    "It is not possible to preside over the Government without complying with [national] laws, after fleeing from justice and without having a project for all Catalans. Puigdemont does not meet any of these requirements," Nart said.

    Ahead of the opening session of the Catalan parliament, called by Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on January 17, Together for Catalonia headed by Carles Puigdemon and its former coalition partner, the Catalan Republican Left (ERC), agreed to support Puigdemont as their candidate to head the region.

    However, it is unclear how Puigdemont, who is facing arrest over charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds, will be able to return to Catalonia from Brussels, given his role in Catalonia’s independence referendum in October, which was declared illegal by Madrid.

    Earlier this week, an ERC spokeswoman stated that the party’s legal team would examine whether Puigdemont could be invested during a video conference or have one of his party fellows read the speech that any presidential candidate is required to deliver before voting in the investiture session.

    Nart argued that if the idea of Puigdemont leading Catalonia from abroad eventually became a reality, it would devalue the image of Catalonia’s parliament.

    "We, Catalans, do not deserve to see the image of Parliament being continuously denigrated: a holographic president would only achieve that," Nart stressed.

    In the snap election held on December 21, Together for Catalonia won 34 seats in parliament and ERC won 32 seats. With the support of another pro-independence party, Popular Unity Candidacy, which won 4 seats, the three parties could have an absolute majority in Catalonia’s 135-seat parliament.

    READ MORE: Spanish PM Calls Idea of Appointing Puigdemont Catalan Government Head Absurd

    The referendum on independence was held in Catalonia on October 1, despite opposition on part of Madrid. More than 90 percent of the voters who cast their ballots backed the region's independence. The regional authorities announced independence unilaterally in late October, but Madrid then imposed direct rule over Catalonia, dissolving the government and the parliament.

    Following Madrid's move, Puigdemon fled to Brussels with several then-members of the Catalan Parliament, while a number of Catalan politicians had been arrested but released later.


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